Compact underwater DC drives for ROVs and AUVs

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Maxon motor has worked closely with research institutes and universities to provide solutions that meet the many demanding challenges for electrical and mechanical components required for underwater systems, including high pressure and high oxidation levels.

Electrical actuated underwater vehicles like remote operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUVs) require drives which are lightweight, efficient and compact. Maxon's underwater thrusters and actuators are oil filled and range in size from 16 to 42mm in diameter. The core element is a motor-gear combination based on a brushless DC-motor and a planetary gearhead, and feature a polymer housing to ensure protection against the harsh underwater elements.

Maxon’s MT-30 thruster is pressure tolerant up to 6000m and is modified for low noise operation. It also features output power of 180W at 48V and weighs less than 1kg. Using maxon’s slimline 48V brushless DC motors the thruster can achieve 10kg continual bollard thrust from a diameter of 30mm. The small diameter helps to reduce water disturbance over the thruster body to maximise efficiency.

Power levels of 120 and 180W are available from the oil filled 22mm motor and 22mm planetary gearhead and the complete thruster has a mass of 750g. The propeller has a diameter of 70mm contained in an 82mm fluted shroud. The units are pressure compensated, have a depth rating of 6km and the housing comes standard with a Subconn MCBH8M connector. Beside the connector there are two 4mm diameter fittings, one for oil filling and one for compensator connection.


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